Photo of Mouny Signal
Mount Signal (Cerro Cintinela) from the North


Details are sketchy, but before Spanish missionaries and Juan Bautista de Anza walked across this land there was communication between the Native-Americans of the mountains (today's Kumeyaay) and those of the Colorado River.

Perhaps they traded, maybe they intermarried, and possibly they waged war with one another. The Indians Anza met at Yuma followed him westward for a way before turning back because they were entering the land of their enemies.

There is evidence of an Indian presence at the Yuha Basin where intaglios testify to a reverence for the place. When Anza first reached the Yuha Basin, it was Kumeyaay who led him to some much-needed water. In those days, trails went from watering hole to watering hole.

Anza's route from the Yuha Basin went northwest by way of San Sebastian Marsh, Borrego Spring, and Coyote Creek. On a clear day, one can see the notch in the Santa Rosa Mountains that Anza called Puerto Real de San Carlos.

Fifty years later, another explorer opened the route that became known as the Southern Emigrant Trail. It went westward across across the north side of the Coyote Mountains to Carrizo Marsh and then followed Vallecito Creek, leaving the desert by way of San Felipe Creek.

By 1900, San Diego was recognizing the need for a road or railroad to the east. This led to the building of the San Diego-Yuma Plank Road, which eventually become Highway 80, and to the San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway.